More businesses building through the cloud

Published: Monday, April 23, 2012

Using cloud computing for customer relationship management and similar functions has been common, but moving more essential systems, such as databases and critical applications, to the cloud is not nearly as prominent. However, a recent Forbes report said there is a major shift underway, as more businesses are turning to all-cloud models in which they use the cloud for everything.

According to the news source, the all-cloud model is rapidly becoming more common and many organizations that are using the cloud for databases, applications, infrastructure and everything else they need from IT are also operating, at least on some level, as service providers.

To illustrate this trend, the report pointed to Coupa, a company that provides online procurement software and services. Coupa founder and CEO Rob Bernshteyn told Forbes that the company is using the cloud for email, infrastructure, customer relationship management and all of the other elements of the IT setup. Besides running 100 percent in the cloud, the organization also operates as a cloud provider, making many of its services available through a cloud platform.

Bernshteyn told Forbes that when the company began in 2006 and worked primarily on the cloud, it was one of just a few companies following this pattern. However, the trend has picked up substantially in recent years.

The news source said Coupa's efforts are representative of the enterprise sector as a whole. More businesses are using the cloud to avoid the heavy technical lifting that comes with getting a business going and keeping it up and running. A growing number of executives are realizing how much they can save in IT by turning to the cloud, and they are beginning to embrace the technology to support overarching goals toward more operational efficiency.

In many ways, the idea of not using the cloud is beginning to seem somewhat preposterous, especially for companies not doing it because they are worried about data ownership issues, Bernshteyn told Forbes.

"The notion of anybody physically owning their data seems like a notion of the past. In fact, you don’t want to take physical ownership of anything. You’d rather it be somewhere else, as long as it's secure and redundant," Bernshteyn told the news source.

The fact that more companies are embracing all-cloud setups is another indication that organizations are ready to invest more heavily in the cloud. The database is one area where companies stand to gain substantially with a move into the cloud computing realm. Data has become a major priority for companies and storing, managing and analyzing that information is absolutely essential to the ongoing success of businesses, especially when it comes to beating out competitors vying for similar customers. Having the right data in place can contribute to strategic development and having a database that makes it easier to use that data is essential to leveraging this capability.

The cloud is an excellent place to host such robust databases. As data creation rates skyrocket and businesses need a careful combination of performance and cost-efficiency, the cloud's ability cut costs through pay-per-use models that eliminate hardware costs is extremely valuable. The cloud's inherent setup also gives organizations the ability to requisition new resources as needed. This is key in allowing for database expansion and contraction as the market changes.

Cloud computing is also an ideal fit with open source database infrastructure. Open source DBs are generally far more flexible and customizable than proprietary systems. When organizations combine that elasticity with the cloud's ability to offer infrastructure scalability, they end up with a solution that they can seamlessly match with business needs.